Columbia VA takes part in COVID vaccine trial

Updated: Nov. 27, 2020 at 1:29 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A trial for one of the new COVID-19 vaccines is currently underway right here in the midlands.

The Columbia Veterans Affairs Health Care System is one of just 17 VA facilities nationwide selected to be apart of this trial.

Currently, the VA is looking for veterans who are over 18-years-old, in good, or stable health. Volunteers who participate in the study will be paid for their time and travel.

This particular vaccine is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson and is the fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccine trial in the U-S.

“As we continue to see rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, it is of upmost importance that we identify a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Daniel Leibman, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and principal investigator for the trial at the Columbia VA. “The Columbia VA Health Care System is proud to be among 17 VA facilities nationwide selected to participate in Janssen’s Phase 3 COVID-19 ENSEMBLE trial.”

There is a special emphasis for volunteers who are Black, Hispanic and Native American because of the extra impact the COVID-19 virus has had on those populations.

“The Columbia VA remains at the forefront of groundbreaking research to find a safe vaccine that will protect veterans from COVID-19. We are pleased to offer our veterans the opportunity to volunteer and participate in this Janssen vaccine trial,” Leibman said.

Medical experts say progress is being made on COVID-19 vaccines, and because of the high number of people taking part in these trails they’re more confidant in the data.

“Look at what is known and what is available. The level of safety data that we do have to date. To look at the fact that these trials have been done in thousands, upon thousands of people. Typically trials have much smaller enrollment bank,” said Dr. Chris Pernell, a public health physician.

If you’d like to learn more about participating in the trial, just click here.

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